Seafood Watch - Seafood Guide

Tuna, Albacore

© Monterey Bay Aquarium
SEAFOODRATINGMARKET NAMESLOCATION/CERTIFICATIONHOW CAUGHT/FARMED
Tuna, Albacore Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Canned White Tuna, Longfin Tunny, Shiro Maguro, Tombo U.S. Pacific, Canadian Pacific Troll, Pole
Tuna, Albacore Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Longfin Tunny, Shiro Maguro, Tombo Hawaii Longline
Tuna, Albacore Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Canned White Tuna, Longfin Tunny, Shiro Maguro, Tombo Worldwide, Except Hawaii Longline
Tuna, Albacore Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Canned White Tuna, Longfin Tunny, Shiro Maguro, Tombo South Atlantic Troll, Pole
Tuna, Albacore Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Longfin Tunny, Shiro Maguro, Tombo North Atlantic Wild
Tuna, Albacore Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Maguro, Tuna Marine Stewardship Council Certified Wild


Albacore Tuna, Wild

Albacore tuna is found in most of the world's oceans. Many types of gear are used to catch tuna. Trolls and poles are the most ocean-friendly options. Some albacore tuna is certified as sustainable to the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Consumer Note

In the U.S. albacore is widely available as canned white tuna. It may also be available fresh, frozen or as sashimi. Albacore is known as shiro maguro when prepared for sushi.

Health Alert

Environmental Defense Fund has issued a consumption advisory for longline-caught albacore tuna due to elevated levels of mercury. No consumption advisories are listed for troll- or pole-caught albacore as these methods catch younger tuna with lower mercury levels.

Summary

Albacore tuna is a highly migratory fish found in many oceans around the world. While albacore in the Pacific Ocean is reasonably abundant and healthy, it's less abundant in the North Atlantic.

Albacore is caught with a variety of gear, including troll, pole and longline. There is little or no bycatch when albacore is caught with troll or pole gear. However, longlines, the most common method, results in large quantities of bycatch, including threatened or endangered species such as sea turtles, sharks and seabirds. Since there are no international laws to reduce bycatch, these longline fleets are contributing heavily to the long-term decline of some of these species.

When possible, look for troll- or pole-caught albacore. In particular, U.S. and Canadian North Pacific are a "Best Choice." Longline-caught albacore is rated as "Avoid," except longline-caught from Hawaii, where strict bycatch regulations and healthy populations result in a "Good Alternative" rating.


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How fish are caught or farmed makes a difference. Fishing boat